Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Bearded Skeleton-grass
Gymnopogon ambiguus
Family: Poaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  S
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S2S3

Dry sandy openings, prairies, glades, barrens, dry woodlands.

Species Description:
Perennial grass.

Flowering Period: Early August to late October.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
Gymnopogons are known for their widely spreading branches of the inflorescence. There are 8 or more spikelets per spike and the spikes are racemose along the axis of the inflorescence. G. ambiguus differs from G. brevifolius in having the awn of the lemma 4-9 mm rather than less than 2 mm. The panicle branches bear spikelets for over half their length.

Woody plant invasion may need to be controlled using periodic prescribed fire, mowing or other means to maintain the open character of the habitat for this species. Hand removal of trees in the vicinity of the species is necessary. Soil disturbance such as ATV trails, timber removal or any activity that results in increased erosion and weed invasion will be detrimental. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species and should be removed.

Global Range:
The historic range of Gymnopogon ambiguus is from Kansas east through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; south along the Coastal Plain to Florida; and west to Texas.

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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